Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Cross media crafting

Well, it had to happen, didn't it?  You knew it would eventually. I said I wouldn't get into card making, but gradually I have been drawn into it in a small way. (In my defence, I have always enjoyed paper crafting.) I am not going to make that many cards (famous last words), and those I do make will be simple, but hopefully elegant. I think I am one of those people who likes to collect crafting equipment, as I certainly have quite a lot of it now, for my various crafts.
I have got lots of stamps, inks, embossing powders, a small and a large die cutting machine, and I have been experimenting with what I can make.
 A 'Delilah Doily' die cut.
 Embossing folders - which give a raised texture to the paper.  I really liked this bubbly one.
 Chris liked the retro feeling of this pattern.
I couldn't resist the animals and birds on this embossing folder.
However, whilst investigating online and watching tutorials and craft channels, I have been discovering that many of the media I have will work with other crafts that I enjoy.  For example, I have Blockwallah woodblocks which can be used on fabric, card and polymer clay, depending what paint or ink you use with them. I am thinking that I need to make some decorations.
I have a heat gun which can be used for embossing powders but I have also found out it can be used on Kato liquid polyclay (this is the only liquid clay which can be heated using a heat gun) to create ceramic effect polymer clay, or enamel effect polymer.
I am going to try both of these effects once my liquid clay arrives.
I also have some ultralight clay which can be put through a die cutting machine once it is dry.  It can also be sculpted and remains flexible once dry, unlike polymer clay.  I haven't tried it out yet, but I need to.  
My jewellery making stash can be used to make jewellery, of course, but I can also use it in felt projects or on decorations with my polymer clay.  
I am feeling very excited about all these possibilities and will share my makes as and when ... roll on my next day at  home!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Colours of Autumn

Over the last few days, I have really noticed the leaf colours starting to change.  The blueberries (this one is Goldtraube) are the first to begin and they usually put on a beautiful show. (You can also see Hydrangea Confetti in the foreground and Hydrangea Annabelle in the background.)
Blueberry Northland is also joining in. 
I enjoy seeing the different shades of red of the leaves.
 Magnolia Susan is turning to a lovely buttery yellow.
Hydrangea Fireworks is also showing its autumn colours, adding pink and green to the white flowers.
This is what the flowers looked like back in the Summer.
Hydrangea Miss Saori is also showing off her autumn colours.
This is what her flowers looked like back in the summer.
It is definitely feeling colder now and I shall have to think about insulating all my pots again.  This is the one time of year I really wish I didn't have quite so many...

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Positives and Negatives

It was 'Sew Saturday' yesterday but I decided that I had enough material in my stash and couldn't really justify buying any more, no matter how lovely, so stayed away from the tempting fabric shops. However, to celebrate sewing, here is a photo of my latest make - it's the Sew Me Something Kate dress again (one of my favourites), but I have altered it so that it is without sleeves. I used denim for the dress and added some pretty floral bias binding around the neck and pockets.
I am quite pleased that I managed to alter the pattern to make a dress that I am happy to wear, with leggings and boots or tights and boots.  Previously, the pattern was just too big across the back, so the tops kept falling off my shoulders which I found a bit annoying.  I think I have solved that problem by taking in the pattern on each side.
On the negatives, we haven't been having a good time with electrical and domestic appliances just recently.  Our cooker had to go after many years of service and then the blender packed in, then the CD/radio we had in the kitchen stopped working properly and tonight, my old and much loved and used computer (Windows 2003 - almost an antique now, but a real workhorse) has decided not to switch on at all, no matter how many times we changed the fuse or checked the electricity flow.  I think I have kept various copies of things on memory sticks and/or discs/disks, but I didn't keep a record of exactly what was on there... *Sigh*

Thursday, 6 October 2016

October colour in the garden

 The garden is changing now but is having a last hurrah before Autumn really gets going.  Rose Frilly Cuff is flowering again.
 This small and dainty Japanese anemone Bowles' Pink has been in flower for weeks.
 Rose Ferdinand Pichard is also flowering again - the first time he has repeat flowered.
 Aster September Ruby (I think) is almost fluorescent and does not want to be ignored.
 Helianthus Lemon Queen is adding a bright sunshine yellow.
 Aster Ericoides has delicate, small pale lilac flowers which are loved by bees.
 A miscanthus adds an elegant stateliness and moved beautifully in the wind.
 Aster Little Carlow is reliable and lovely.  Once the flowers have been visited by the bees, the centre turns red.
 Dahlia Merkii, looking a bit bedraggled.
 Hydrangea Confetti, which was a new plant this year and has done really well.
 Cyclamen Hederifolium with beautiful marbled leaves.
 An unnamed fuchsia which has flowered non-stop all summer and is still going strong.
I found this skeletonised leaf which had got caught on a box bush and thought it was beautiful.  There is still lots to enjoy in the garden.

Wall update: we agreed on a fence and got in touch with the builder, but he has not responded, which is really disappointing.  We are going to get another company to give us a quote...

Thursday, 29 September 2016

More paintings, Poldark scything...and other things

 While we were at The Usher Gallery, looking at the BP portraits exhibition, we also had a wander round some of the rooms, and this watercolour, painted in 1828, was one which I was very pleased to see.  It is by Joseph Mallord William Turner and is of Stamford, Lincolnshire, which was my home for a good few years.  The church which can be seen is St Martin's, which is where I was a chorister for fourteen years and also where Chris and I were married.  It was lovely to see the original watercolour, rather than a print.
This painting caught my eye with the impressionist background of the cornfield.  It is called 'The Mowers' and is by George Clausen.  It was painted in oils in 1891.  I couldn't help thinking of Mr Turner as Poldark; even though I didn't watch the series, I couldn't help but hear about that scything scene.  

(photo from Radio Times - for all you Poldark lovers)
I also read about some historical inaccuracies in both Poldark and Victoria.  Apparently, anyone scything would never remove their shirt - it just was not done.  As you can see in the painting, all men are fully clothed! 
Out on the landing, we spotted this chest which had gold painted decoration (we think) of rather wonderful people, beasts and foliage.  I especially liked the border. There were no details, so the maker will have to remain a mystery.
This light caught our attention too - well, you couldn't fail to see it, as it was quite large.  It is made of lots of plastic items and we thought how clever it was to make something ubiquitous into something rather beautiful.  However, when we read the information, it became something more thought provoking as all the pieces of plastic were picked up along the British coastline.  That is not a nice thought, is it?  Unfortunately, I didn't note the artist's name, so there's another reason to go back.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

BP Portrait exhibition 2016

We were lucky to be able to see the BP portrait exhibition at The Usher Gallery in Lincoln last Sunday - it is on until November and the ticket enables you to visit as often as you like, so we hope to go back.  I took lots of photos (without a flash) of the portraits which I particularly liked.  Neither of us were that impressed with the winning portrait and I didn't take a photo of that.  The portrait above is by Jean-Paul Tibbles, of his son Jean.  He is one of the 'poster boys' for the exhibition. 
 This portrait had us discussing what material the artist's daughter had swathed around herself - I felt it was a silk with the blue/green sheen in certain light whereas Chris though it was more like a black plastic.  Whatever it was, it was beautifully painted and reminded me of a Velazquez painting, with the rich colours and dark background.
This is a close up of the sequins on the little girl's bodice.  This is one reason to revisit the exhibition as I neglected to note this artist's name.
This portrait is by the same artist as the one above, of the artist's son who put a bag on his head. 
Chris really liked this portrait.
 This is called 'Portrait in the mirror: the veil' by Antonio Lagua.
 The artist explained that 'the model's reflection became the starting point for work to begin'.  He has captured a really intriguing expression here.
This portrait is called Vacuum 2 by Thomas Ehretsmann as is of his friend Simon.  It is acrylic on wood panel and is incredible - it is hard to believe it is a painted image. 
This is the winner of the BP Travel award, of Petras, by Laura Guoke.  It is a huge painting, which I found quite moving.
The hands were fascinating. 
This was one of my favourite paintings called Alessandra by Daisy Sims-Hilditch and was inspired by the work of John Singer Sargent.  We both thought it would look perfectly at home in a country house - The Honorable somebody or other, daughter of Lord/Earl/Duke whoever! 
 This painting is the 'poster girl' for the exhibition and reminded me of a Waterhouse painting.  It is my absolute favourite as I love the expression and the way it is left sketchy in the background, really focusing on that beautiful face, neck and hand. 
She is the wife of the artist, 'Laura in black' by Joshua Larock. 
I was immediately transported to Wuthering Heights when I looked at this portrait (Mila by Simon Richardson), as she looks to me as Cathy might have looked when she was a girl. 
The portrait of The Rt Reverend & Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO Lord Bishop Of London by Elena Vladimir Baranoff was a blaze of colour with the red and gold robes.
It was painted using egg tempera on gesso board and does share the quality of a medieval painting, with its small size and jewel-like colour.  The detail was beautiful.
The portrait of 'Dad Sculpting me' won the BP young artist award.
The portrait of Sir Andrew Motion also stopped me in my tracks.  Looking at the books behind the sitter was interesting, but it was the intense gaze which was so arresting and his eyes definitely followed me.
It seemed as though he might speak at any moment. 
The exhibition showed a huge range of styles of portraiture and shows that there are many extremely talented artists around the world.  It is well worth a visit, or two, or three...